Entertainment

Alfonso Cuarón Keeps His Mexican Heritage Alive In Everything He Does, Like Oscar Greats Guillermo Del Toro And Alejandro Iñárritu

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón comes from a rare breed of artists that achieve both commercial success and critic acclaim. With just eight feature films under his belt, Cuarón has done it all: comedy, a sexy road trip movie, a Dickens adaptation, a children’s movie, a Harry Potter film, brainy science fiction, and now an intense and beautiful memoir, Roma. Cuarón won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and for Best Director at last night’s Golden Globes and we couldn’t be prouder. Here are 21 facts about this once wonder boy turned established auteur.

He is one of the Three Amigos.

Credit: homepage_EP_GuillermoDelToro_AlfomsoCuaron_AlejandrgoGInarrituDigital image. RoberEbert

Along with fellow Mexican directors Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu he has taken Hollywood by storm. They have all won the Oscar for Best Director.

He often collaborates with family.

Credit: father-and-son. Digital image. Latino

He co-wrote the script for Y tu mamá también with his brother Carlos. The best: he co-wrote the Oscar-winning script for Gravity with his son Jonás. Qué chingón.

He inserted Mexican elements into the world of Harry Potter.

Credit: f84b19d4c5b5962077403eb3e24451c6. Digital image. Pinterest

Yes, when he took on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban he decided to include elements such as the sugar skulls you can see in the candy shop. No better way to proudly showcase our culture in a global market.

He just loves the color green.

Credit: Sólo con tu pareja. Digital image. Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia.

Since his debut film Sólo con tu pareja he has shown a predilection for green hues in props and sets. In Mexican film circles, they call his palette “verde Cuarón”

He keeps going back to Mexico to shoot.

Credit: Sólo con tu pareja. Digital image. Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia.

Many expat directors in Hollywood never go back to their home to shoot a film in their mother tongue. Not the case with Cuarón, who has kept a healthy split between English and Spanish in his work. Gael Garcia Bernal is another entertainer who is using his name to better entertainment in his home country.

He is known for his elaborate long takes.

Credit: Gravity. Warner.

He is famous for offering us mind-blowing long takes that just make no sense but look miraculous. Case in point: that amazing space ballet in Gravity (see above image).

He has a close creative partnership with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Credit: emmanuel_lubezki_alfonso_cuaron. Digital image. Hollywood Reporter.

With Lubezki he has created some of the most beautiful images in recent cinema. Lubezki wasn’t available to shoot Roma so Cuarón shot it himself rather than working with someone else.

He put his career on hold to care for his autistic son.

Credit: alfonso-cuaron. Digital image. Variety.

After 2006’s Children of Men, Cuarón took a long break to properly become a cargiver for his son, who was diagnosed with autism. La familia primero.

He is part of the CUEC generation.

Credit: 1393713337_158281_1393713503_noticia_normal. Digital image. El Pais.

He studied film at the Centro Mexicano de Estudios Cinematográficos in Mexico City. This school has a very unique style influenced by European cinema.

10. He has won it all…

Credit: Giphy. @GoldenGlobes

Oscars, Golden Globes, Golden Lions… you name it. There mustn’t be a single spot available on his mantelpiece!

He is an avid cinephile and it shows.

Credit: 8 1/2. Criterion Collection.

He often includes homages to his favorite films. In Roma, there is a clear reference to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. 

Roma is his own life but told from a different perspective.

Credit: Roma. Netflix.

He has often said how Roma truly gave him the freedom to delve deep into his own childhood. What is amazing is that he didn’t do it from his own perspective, but rather from a gaze that was silenced because of class dynamics at the time.

He owes everything to his nanny, Libo.

Credit: alfonso-cuaron-variety-cover-story-2. Digital image. Variety.

Many middle-class Mexico City families rely heavily on domestic workers for emotional labor as well. Libo, who is now a lovely old lady, was Cuarón’s inspiration for the character of Cleo. Their relationship echoes the experience of many Mexico City natives.

He has made some of the best literary adaptations in the history of cinema.

Credit: A Little Princess. Warner Bros.

He is great at directing his own material as well as literary classics such as The Little Princess, Great Expectations, J.K. Rowling’s world and Children of Men, a sci-fi nightmare written by PD James. He has a rare talent that allows him to make the material his own while respecting the spirit of the original.

He even made Charles Dickens sexy!

Credit: Great Expectations. Fox.

Ethan Hawke painting Gwyneth Paltrow como Dios la trajo al mundo. Bring las sales right now! And that kiss by the fountain, tender and so romantic. He made Dickens be part of the 1990s grunge, emo and banal cultural zeitgeist.

He inserted a whole bunch of pop culture references in Children of Men.

Credit: Children of Men. Warner Bros.

Did you notice the Pink Floyd imagery all over apocalyptic London? Well, that is not a coincidence. Just look at this pig balloon casually parading on the background.

And even critiques to the Bush presidency.

Credit: finalabu_01. Digital image. scholarship@cc

In some of the scenes in Children of Men we can see images that clearly reference the abuses committed by the U.S. in countries like Iraq, where navy personnel took photos of prisoners while they abused them. Alfonso is a very meticulous artist and nothing in his films is aleatory.

He defends the Netflix model…

Credit: romapremiere. Digital image. Variety.

He thinks that the best way for a movie to be released is in multiple exhibition windows. He released Roma in selected cinemas and then on Netflix. Guess what? People keep watching it on the big screen!

Roma is a true one-man show.

Credit: image002_-_h_2017. Digital image. The Hollywood Reporter.

He wrote it, directed it, edited it, and shot it. Ah, and he was the producer. Esas canas se llaman Roma! To be honest, even though film production can be a nightmare he looks quite happy doing it judging from this picture, o no?

He speaks out against injustice.

Credit: 16mag-cuaron-slide-L77I-articleLarge. Digital image. The New York Times.

He uses his fame and stature among Mexican intellectual elites to speak out against crimes such as the massacre of 43 students in Ayotzinapa. In his Mexican films, he often mentions how the powerful take land from peasants, as is the case of Cleo’s mom in Roma.

His next project…..

Credit: caseyaffleckofficial / Instagram

There are not many details at the moment other than the star will be the controversial Casey Affleck…. sounds intriguing. We wonder how Cuarón will deal with the sexual harassment allegations against Affleck. We can also guess that it will be a Netflix movie and that Cuarón will continue to explore the limits of film exhibition. Venga!


READ: Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’ Took Home Two Awards At The 2019 Golden Globes

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This Is What Mexico Looks Like As It Reopens During A Global Pandemic

Things That Matter

This Is What Mexico Looks Like As It Reopens During A Global Pandemic

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Step outside into Mexico’s capital (home to more than 20 million people) and you’d be forgiven for not realizing we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic that’s killed more than half a million people.

As of this week, several Mexican states have entered the initial phase of reopening and Mexicans are taking full advantage of the newly found sense of ‘freedom’ – visiting restaurants, cafés and shops in droves. However, experts warn that Mexico will likely follow the dangerous path of the United States – which opened prematurely and is now having to shut down businesses once again as cases reach record levels.

Here’s an inside look into the daily reality of Chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) and what the future holds for the country amid Coronavirus.

Mexico City – along with 17 other states – have entered the first phase of a gradual reopening.

Despite being home to the largest number of active cases across Mexico, the capital joined 17 other states in a phased reopening this week. Mexico City lowered its contagion risk from a level red (the most extreme) to level orange, which permits some businesses to reopen.

However, Mexico City – on the day of the reopening – saw a record 5,432 new cases and 638 confirmed deaths. Mayor Sheinbaum said that the switch to orange was possible because hospital occupancy levels are at 59% and trending downwards. But to many, the government is prioritizing the economy over public safety and health. Several government officials insisted that it was safe to proceed to the reduced warning level but health experts disagreed.

The mayor stressed that if hospital occupancy levels go above 65% again, red light restrictions will be reinstated. She urged residents to continue to take precautions to reduce the risk of infection. People should continue to stay at home as much as possible and the use of face masks in public places remains mandatory.

Along with Mexico City, 17 other states moved into the orange phase of reopening – including tourist hotspots of Jalisco, Veracruz, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan.

The federal government instituted a traffic light system to simplify the risk management of Covid-19

Credit: omgitsjustintime/ Instagram

Shortly after the Coronavirus outbreak began, the federal government instituted a color-coded risk management system to simplify its messaging. With red being the highest risk level and green being the lowest, every state until June 15th was still in the red level.

As of July 1, 18 states are now in the orange level. This means that restaurants, cafés, and shops can begin to reopen with reduced capacity. Hotels and markets will also be allowed to resume service, meaning that tourism will likely begin to pick up again very soon.

President AMLO has been eager to get the economy reopened after it was reported that at least one million formal jobs have been lost and the country’s economy is expected to shrink by 8.8% this year.

On the first day of reopening, shops in Mexico City’s historic center were jammed full of shoppers.

Credit: Raul Hidalgo / Getty Images

The city’s historical center is a hub of economic activity. You can literally find pretty much anything you could ever want in these cobblestones streets. The district is home to more than 27,000 businesses and as of this week they’re now permitted to open once again. And resident wasted no time in hitting the shops.

Long lines formed outside shops with few people wearing masks and most stores not truly enforcing social distancing requirements. Some offered antibacterial gel and took people’s temperatures before allowing them to enter.

Officially, shops and businesses with an odd street number are permitted to open three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, whereas even-numbered shops can open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

In order to prevent crowds from accumulating and promote social distancing, 31 streets were converted into pedestrian-only zones.

Restaurants, cafés, and shopping centers are all open for business – with some protective measurements in place.

Credit: omgitsjustintime/ Instagram

Even before the official change to semáforo naranja, several restaurants and cafés were already offering dine-in service. But now restaurants are officially allowed to operate at limited capacity, while staff are required to wear masks and shields, and restaurants are’s allowed to play music or issue reusable menus.

Street markets, known as tianguis, will also be allowed to restart which will help many of the city’s informal workers. And the following week, department stores and shopping malls will also be allowed to reopen at 30% capacity and with limited hours.

Mexico is hardly finished with the Coronavirus threat – in fact, cases have been reaching record levels.

Credit: Covid.gob.mx

Although not yet at the levels seen in the U.S. or Brazil, Mexico has been struggling with its response to the Coronavirus pandemic. As of July 1, the country has had more than 225,000 confirmed cases and almost 28,000 deaths, with Mexico City being the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak.

And the worst doesn’t appear to be over. In a Covid-19 situation report published Monday, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security noted that Mexico had reported a decreasing daily incidence for three consecutive days.

“However, Mexico does not yet appear to have reached its peak,” the report said. “Based on recent trends, we expect Mexico to report increasing daily incidence over the coming days. Mexico is currently No. 6 globally in terms of daily incidence,” it added.

Sofia Vergara Recalls Brother’s Death During Powerful AGT Audition: ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

Entertainment

Sofia Vergara Recalls Brother’s Death During Powerful AGT Audition: ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

NBC

A recent audition on “America’s Got Talent” made judge Sofia Vergara so emotional that it inspired her to open up about a tragedy very personal to her.

On Tuesday’s episode of the competition series, Vergara watched 27-year-old Brandon Leake take the stage to deliver a spoken-word performance that resonated with Vergara.

Leake, a former high school English teacher introduced his piece by dedicating it to his sister.

“Love is the most vulnerable thing one will ever have,” Leake explained during his performance “And you must learn to hold onto it loosely so when it leaves it won’t exit so painfully.” During the performance, Leake recalled losing his sister in the late ‘90s saying “I’m still haunted by these nightmares ’cause I have a really creative mind, and sometimes it designs these alternate realities where she is still here.”

Continuing Leake said “Still alive, and all the things I wish we could have done are played again and again and again. I’m tired of playing God ’cause I gotta come to terms with the fact that my sister ain’t never comin’ back.”

The “Modern Family” actress became visibly emotional during the performance and teared up.

Judges Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell were quick to give Leakes a standing ovation.

“What an amazing tribute,” Cowell said. “There’s something very, very special about you. This is a very difficult thing for me to judge. I shouldn’t be judging it, I just want to compliment you on what you just did because it was extraordinary.”

Mandel commended Leake’s performance saying “we feel your pain, we feel your love, and you moved me to do this” before hitting the Golden Buzzer which means he is being sent straight to the AGT live shows.

Vergara shared with Leake that his poem reminded her of the loss and grief she experienced after losing her own brother.”My brother passed away the same year that your sister passed away. I can feel your pain; I know what this is. I know what it is to have somebody taken from you without you knowing,” Vergara said before going on to say that the poem was “very beautiful for me.”

On Tuesday evening, Vergara tweeted that Leake’s performance was “a great way to end the night!!!”

In 1998, Vergara’s older brother Rafael was murdered while men attempted to kidnap him.

Vergara opened up about the death in 2011 for a Parade cover story, telling the magazine “My older brother, Rafael, was killed in Colombia… “Mother was like a zombie… I wanted to be with them. So I got a big house and we all lived together. I am so grateful to be in this country.”